Rebecca Zahau death: Shocking details that convinced San Diego police that she hanged herself
The San Diego County Sheriff's Department ruled Rebecca Zahau's death as a suicide after she was found hanging naked from the second storey balcony
32-year-old Burmese immigrant Rebecca Zahau was found dead at her millionaire boyfriend Jonah Shacknai's Spreckels Mansion in Coronado, California.
Zahau was found hanging naked—with her arms and legs bound—from the second storey balcony of the Coronado mansion where she lived with her boyfriend Jonah Shacknai.
Despite the bizarre and strange circumstances she was found in, her death was officially ruled as a suicide.
Oxygen media's documentary titled 'Death at the Mansion: Rebecca Zahau' looks at the theories and possibilities of what happened to Zahau.
Her family is convinced that her death was a homicide and not a suicide but the San Diego Sheriff's Office believes otherwise. Lt. Rich Williams revealed in a press conference, "We looked at the existing evidence in the case with fresh eyes, with a fresh perspective from scratch… All of the evidence points to one logical conclusion and that’s suicide."
These are all the reasons why Rebecca Zahau's death could have been suicide:
1. Trauma from Max's death
According to a report from the San Diego Sheriff's Department, Zahau's boyfriend's 6-year-old son Max had met with a freak accident two days before she passed away. The accident took place when Zahau was babysitting Max whom she was very fond of and she said she was in the bathroom when she heard a loud sound. She came out to find Max lying on the floor badly injured. He succumbed to his injuries and died three days after Zahau died.
It is reported that Zahau was devastated when the child was in a coma and the authorities believe that it was this guilt and grief over the unfortunate accident that could have led Zahau to take her own life.
The investigators claim that they located notes on Zahau's cell phone which points out just how unhappy she was in the months leading up to her death. Zahau had allegedly written notes which read, "If I am not thinking I am crying. No amount of money is worth what I am going through." The investigators believe that these notes indicate suicidal thoughts and also depression, claims which her family has refuted.
3. Relationship with Jonah Shacknai and his family
Zahau's pharmaceutical executive boyfriend was 22 years older than her and it seemed like the two had the perfect Cinderella story. She gave up her job as a certified ophthalmic technician in order to be able to spend more time with Jonah and his children. Jonah had three children from an earlier marriage- two teenagers from his first marriage, and 6-year-old Max from his second one.
The two teenagers "resented" Zahau and her sister Mary Zahau Loehner claimed that she was considering putting their relationship on hold as a result. When it comes to whether Jonah and Zahau were a couple in love, Mary was not convinced. She told the San Diego Reader, "I don’t know. I couldn’t read [them]. I mean, were they affectionate with each other? No, not really. Not in front of us. If I saw them, I probably wouldn’t get that impression."
Mary also claimed that Zahau was criticized and looked down on by Jonah's ex-wives as they all struggled to adjust and adapt to the situation. She described Zahau's role in her relationship as being a "glorified nanny" rather than a girlfriend living a lavish lifestyle. It is reported that Zahau spent the majority of her days taking the children to events, running errands, or cleaning the mansion. Her sister maintains that Zahau would have still never taken her own life.
4. No physical evidence/DNA
There was no physical evidence or DNA found at the scene of the crime. According to retired Sheriff’s Department senior latent print examiner, Linda Wright, she was unable to find any evidence as it seemed like the balcony door had been wiped down. There was also a latex glove and a pair of garden gloves found in the mansion which had a mixed sample of at least two individuals. The gloves provided insufficient amounts of DNA for testing or conclusions.
5. Claims by bondage experts
Zahau was found nude with her hands and feet bound behind her back. According to an investigative report obtained by Oxygen, "Rebecca was nude, her hands and feet were bound with red rope. There was also red rope tied around her neck and a blue cloth tied around her neck," the report continued.
The Author and journalist Sean Elder shared that the seemingly complicated knots which were seen binding Zahau's hands and feet could have been done by Zahau herself had she been into bondage. He spoke of a form of Japanese bondage called Shibari which involves many complicated knots and also sometimes red ropes. According to the San Diego Sheriff's Department who released a video showing how easy it was to self tie the ropes claim that the knots are not as complicated as they look.
The documentary 'Death At The Mansion: Rebecca Zahau' shows two Bondage experts saying that the knots were nothing close to Shibari and looked like sloppy boating notes indicating that Zahau could have been able to tie herself up.